Visiting Willamette Valley Vineyards
So, I recently moved from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest, and I’m excitedly getting to know my new home in McMinnville, OR (Mac for short). Arriving this past Thursday I was giddy to drive past many wineries and tasting rooms that I’ve been enjoying back in Ohio. Now living here I’ll get to visit all of them and many others all the while tasting and writing about many new wines. I’m very excited for this adventure that will definitely help oe•no•phile to grow and help me in learning more about wines, new regions, and being a better taster/writer.
One of my first stops this weekend was to visit the newly opened Wine Center right here in downtown Mac, run by the folks at Willamette Valley Vineyards. The center is a tasting room of sorts for WVV but also so much more. In addition to their own wines, visitors can taste samples from other area wineries which change weekly. There is a small tasting fee, and the staff there is very knowledgeable and eager to help.
Beyond that tasting visitors can see maps detailing the spcific AVAs within the Willamette Valley, gather helpful materials about area attractions, and generally learn much more about this fascinating wine growing region. A display gives details on the different soils found in the areas, and guests can read many different books with lots of great info. Soon there will be a concierge service to help guests find dining, lodging, and daily activities.
Along with educating visitors and helping tourism in the area, the center is also deeply focused on sustainability and being an eco-friendly establishment. Many of the materials that went into building and designing the space are donated, refurbished and recycled items. You can even bring your extra corks to the center which hosts a cork recycling program sponsored by Cork Re-Harvest.
Amy and I visited the center yesterday afternoon and met with Shelby who guided us through a fun flight of WVV wines. She gave us some great details regarding the wines, and a lot of insight on the new center and where it’ll be going in the coming weeks and months. I’m excited to watch this place grow and expand, and think it will be a huge asset to the local industry.
Here are my tasting notes in brief.
2007 Dijon Clone Chardonnay: Vanilla, pear, ginger, and citrus. Dry with medium-high acidity and full bodied.
2007 Founders’ Reserve Pinot Noir: Cranberry, tart cherry, strawberry, and cooked red fruits. Fresh fruit flavors, tart, medium acidity and body.
2007 Tualatin Estate Pinot Noir: Light color; earthy, strawberry, smoke, mushroom. Just bordering under full bodied, medium acidity, long finish.
2008 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir: Bright bluish-red color; raspberry, bubble gum, and red fruit. Processed via carbonic maceration similar to Beaujolais giving a similar profile. Light and would be lots of fun paired with BBQ.
2007 Signature Cuvee: Greyish plum color; cherry, strawberry, cranberry. Medium high acidity and medium body. Tart, lingering finish.
2006 Pinot Noir Style Port: Rich cranberry color; dried fruit, cherry brandy, raspberry jam. Sweet but with balanced acidity. Medium high body and a long finish. Break out the chocolate please.
The WVV Wine Center is open daily from 10a until 7p. It is located in McMinnville’s Historic Downtown at 300 NE Third Street. Call (503) 883-9012 for more details.
About the Author: Ryan Reichert
Ryan Reichert is a Portland-based wine writer and educator. Enthusiastic about sharing the best of Oregon wines with everyone. Creator of Northwest Whites, focusing exclusively on Pacific Northwest white wines. Managing editor for "Palate Press: the Online Wine Magazine, an international wine publication.
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